Title: A software agent based virtual enterprise for electronic commerce

Authors: Omer F. Rana, Mario Kupries

Addresses: Department of Computer Science, Cardiff University, P.O. Box 916, Cardiff, CF24 3XP, Wales, UK. King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, P.O. Box 210, Dharan 31261, Saudi Arabia

Abstract: A virtual enterprise is described where specialised functions are allocated to collaborating software components. The behaviour of each component is specified by a collection of rules, and the state of each component is not made directly available to others except through a specialised communication language. The execution of each component is dependent on the contents of the received message and its current state. The granularity of a component can vary, hence each component can wrap existing applications within an enterprise, such as a database management system or a trends analysis system, or may be required to provide a visual result to a user. The definition of a virtual enterprise for managing and sharing business processes is first provided, followed by an architecture template for building applications in electronic commerce, and influenced by the ||Electronic Market Place|| (EMP) paradigm. Specialised components which perform the task of buyers, sellers, intermediate brokers and facilitators within the EMP are described, and the concepts are demonstrated with an implementation in Java for a travel agent application.

Keywords: intelligent agents; information systems design; virtual enterprise; e-commerce.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSTM.2002.001623

International Journal of Services Technology and Management, 2002 Vol.3 No.2, pp.154-170

Available online: 10 Jul 2003 *

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